Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby
Food to eat while reading: Steampunked Fish and Chips
I met Matthew Kirby at a Writing for Charity event in 2009 and have been eager to read his story ever since.
Read the synopsis here.
What I liked:
The first line: “When Giuseppe found the green violin, he did not think it would help him escape.” This line promises magic and tells me right away that the character is in a precarious situation.
I haven’t heard of a steampunk book for middle grade readers, and Kirby expertly fills the niche. Steamboats, a clockwork man, child labor and the impending Edison electricity all populate this fable-like tale.
Three children are in need of something that they can only get through dependence on another. The three storylines are woven together into a beautiful tapestry that could only be created by their collaboration.
Kirby’s descriptions dart in and out of the story, never distracting from the dialogue and flow. Here’s an example of Giuseppe biting an apple: “When he bit through its crisp skin, sour juice exploded in his mouth and twisted up his cheeks and his tongue.” Can you taste it?
Hannah, Frederick and Giuseppe are distinct from each other in personality, in emotions and the way that they react to situations. The characters recognize each other’s differences, and instead of letting it tear them apart, they use the differences to support each other.
There is a tiny hint of romance between Hannah and Frederick-just the perfect amount for middle grade. One tender scene in particular touched my heart at the end of the story.
What I would have changed:
Even though the three storylines were interesting, I started to get lost in the early middle of the book. I kept picking up other books because the pacing lagged a bit for me. I am glad that I didn’t put it down though, because the story delivers.
Not all of my questions were answered and I wanted more. I am hoping that we will see more of the three children, Madame Pomeroy and the clockwork man and the magic that made him come to life.
The verdict: A tale of the mystery and magic of time gone by, The Clockwork Three will enchant readers to the last page.
Purchase: The Clockwork Three
Genre: MG, steampunk, historical fiction
Publisher: Published October 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press, Hardcover, 400 pages
Where I got the book: ARC that I won in a giveaway (I’m trying to remember from whom).